Monday, July 23, 2007

The Cart Before the Horse

Another coffee shop has succumbed to the Reaper, now while it is a wholly unfortunate thing, it was easily foreseeable once their primary marketing scheme was revealed. The death was easily predictable once coupons and BOGO were used as their method(s) of promotion.

Any reputable marketer will tell you, and all the market research bears this out, that coupons/discount marketing is not only the worst form of marketing, but it does more harm than good.
In terms of marketing we want to:
1) Establish a niche or 'position'
2) Increase our customer base
3) Increase awareness of the #1
4) Increase long term revenue

Here are the obvious problems with discount marketing.
1) Establishes your business as a 'discount' business-- one not capable of having products worthy of the full price.
2) Increases number of people wanting something "FREE" does not increase PAYING customer base. In fact, it decreases paying customer base because it erodes their confidence in your product.
3) Discount marketing does reaffirm to everyone that the particular business is failing or has positioned themselves with the mindset of failure.
4) The decrease in paying customers and the increase in non-paying/discount customers leads to an easily predictable decrease in revenue.

But then WHY do so many local/small businesses have such a poor understanding of marketing? Most people want an easy fix, they want to be the Day Trader or the lottery winner. This is business folly. So before you put the gimmick before the quality of your product, Beware! A picture paints a thousand words, eh?